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What Is My Air Conditioner's SEER Rating?

Air Conditioning

Wondering why your monthly utility bill is so high lately? Of course, it depends on how much energy you use each month, but how energy-efficient, or inefficient, your larger appliances are play a major role when it comes to how much you have to cough up. Your home cooling system is one of those larger appliances that tends to guzzle up energy and if you’re looking to find out just how efficient your current system is, you’re actually looking for its SEER rating.

What is a SEER Rating?

SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, refers to the “relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Generally speaking, a system with a higher SEER rating means that it’s more energy efficient than one with a lower rating. Ultimately, an increase in efficiency can lead you to savings in energy consumption which means lower monthly costs for you, the homeowner!

SEER Rating Scale

Now that you know what a SEER rating is, it’s time to learn about how an air conditioning system is actually measured when it comes to energy efficiency. SEER ratings range from 13, on the low end, to 22 on the high end (depending on the brand).

With that said, when you’re shopping around for a new cooling system, we recommend looking for a system with a SEER rating on the higher end of the scale, however, the size of your home and the current ductwork setup, among other variables, must be considered.

Two technicians finding the air conditioner's SEER rating.

How To Find The SEER Rating

Head over to your cooling system and look for a yellow and black “energyguide” sticker, which can usually be located on the side of the condenser. If this sticker is still in tact, it will tell you the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio in large numbers.

If there is no sticker, you can look for a piece of paper taped to the front of the air handler. Your HVAC contractor likely listed the performance data of the system here.

Still no luck? Some manufacturers include the SEER rating at the beginning of the model number on the data plate. You may notice something along the lines of “XC21” followed by a series of additional numbers and dashes. In this case, the SEER rating is 21.

Finally, if you can locate the model and serial number of the unit, you can contact the manufacturer or a local dealer and ask them for the SEER rating for that specific unit.

How To Calculate a SEER Rating Manually

If you’ve exhausted all of the options above and still can’t find out your system’s SEER rating, you can actually calculate it manually. First, find the BTUs per hour for the system. It should either be located on the air conditioner itself, or in the owner’s manual. Then find the number of watts used per hour. Just like the BTUs, this can either be found on the unit itself or in the owner’s manual.

To calculate the number of BTUs used during the summer months, use 1,000 hours as your baseline. Multiply the BTUs per hour by 1,000 to get the total number of BTUs used during the summer.

Then calculate the number of watt-hours used in the summer by doing the same with the number of watts used per hour. (Multiply the watts used per hour by 1,000)

Finally, divide the BTUs used during the summer, by the watt-hours used during the summer and you will arrive at your system’s SEER rating.

Have additional questions about your home’s cooling system? We’re here to help! The AC experts at Advanced Home Services provide air conditioning installation, repair, replacement, and maintenance services in Idaho Falls and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 208-745-9406 to make an appointment.


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